Yesterday Jazmine Denise Rogers reported that that despite years worth of stories of a relationship between Ashanti and Nelly and then a rumored breakup of this said relationship, Ashanti set the record straight, by telling radio DJ Sway, ““Who said we had a relationship?…”
First whenever I read about Ashanti, I always think of that track where she (and her team) masterfully flipped Biggie’s smash hit,”One More Chance,” (originally DeBarge’s “Stay With Me”), to “Foolish” describing how stupid we can be over some dude. And then that always makes me think about a saying I once heard, “Youth is wasted on the young.”
Ironically, it was an ex-boyfriend, who told me that. He was ten years my senior. He also said those words belong to George Bernard Shaw. Back then I took it as an insult, which is why we are probably not together anymore. But now, a little older, I definitely “get it.” I was strong, vital and in my best physically but I lacked both wisdom and at times, basic common sense. I could have saved myself a lot of heart ache and unnecessary stress, if I knew about life – and more specifically love – then than I do now.
Years ago, I was having an awkward phone conversation with my father about a guy I was seeing. I normally don’t discuss the guys I date with my dad. We just don’t have that type of relationship where I felt comfortable to let my guard down to share. He wanted to know if I had a boyfriend. I told him I had a “friend.” I heard him sigh and then he said something to the effect of, “that’s the problem with your generation, you don’t know how to properly define yourselves. You call relationships any-and everything but relationship even though you do this and that.”
This and that, was my father’s coded way of saying “sex” but without having to acknowledge that he once little girl wasn’t a little girl anymore. Nevertheless, I was irked. For one, I felt like he had no right to make a judgment about the guy I was dating, for whom he had never met. And secondly, how could you hold my relationship in judgment when I was conceived out of one of those “friendly” affairs? Sort of in the spirit of Sade’s Babyfather? But that’s where his unsolicited advice came from: the experience. You know, the whole “youth wasted” saying?
Mainly because he was partially right: I made the mistake of telling my “friend” that I wanted more. It was nothing something that had sprung up over night. To be honest, I had always wanted more from him. He told me then that he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. And after six-months of hanging out in that gray area, not much had changed. “I’m just not into that right now. I got a lot on my mind right now. You know, my baby mom; I’m not exactly where I want to be in life; emotionally I’m just messed up, right now…” blah, blah blah. Basically, he was saying that despite spending time with and being sexually intimate with you, I’m just not that in to you. If I was, I probably wouldn’t be seeing all these other women besides you.
But I really liked him. Or I thought I did. Looking back, it was probably out of fear of rejection combined with fear of being alone. And I accepted it because I wanted to believe that if I just held on that one day, he would change his mind. I wouldn’t let the thought cross my mind that he might be using his baby mom as an excuse. For what? Who cares? Point is, he wasn’t being totally honest. And if I am truthful, I wasn’t being honest neither.
I was dishonest with him for leading him to believe that this complicated situation we had was okay with me. But more importantly, I was dishonest with myself. Despite how Musiq Soulchild makes it sound, being “friends” with someone you want more from ain’t always sunny. In fact, it’s a very uneven relationship where the power dynamic didn’t bend in my favor. Simple couple decisions, like when and how you should meet, become non-negotiable for me. For the most part I felt powerless. And the emotional stress from my chosen indentured servitude started to take a physical toll including being marked by anxiety and bouts of depression. For me, our friendly relationship became very unhealthy. And lying to myself about the affect it was having on me was the equivalent of labeling flu-like symptoms as “just a cough.”
Being honest with myself meant knowing how to articulate – and most importantly stand by – what I wanted in a relationship. If you’re not into a relationship, than by all means, don’t have one. In fact, I would suggest you don’t. However, if a relationship is what you want, don’t settle for him (or her) calling you – as well as being - anything and everything but. Sure, it is not going to be pleasant. And you might have to cut ties and spend time alone.
But being alone ain’t that bad, especially when you learn to love yourself. Then you realize just how much fun you really are. I think my overall point is that, life is too short to be on some friendly, aka Ashanti Foolish, aka Biggie’s One More Chance, mess – if you don’t have to.